Portland News Magazine

Remodeling OUR own barn

August 11th, 2013 by John David Smith

Photo by https://secure.flickr.com/photos/misserion/

The Oregon landscape is dotted with barns that we appreciate because they are beautiful as well as functional.  They also represent a collective effort because of their magnitude: people had to come together to raise a barn in just a few days.  But every barn needs to be replaced or remodeled occasionally.

You are invited to help us with this month’s electronic barn-raising!  This is one of those occasions where a lot of different skills and kinds of contributions are called for. As mentioned last month, we are about to migrate from our existing website to a new one. The analogy is that our website is a bit like the center of our homestead, where we store some of our accumulated riches, and where we contribute to the digital landscape in Portland.  And it will take a group effort to complete the migration.

There are many reasons for doing this migration (aka renovation).  The new site will have a lot of features that the old one did not.  It will look better (the website is the first contact that many people have with our Shambhala Center).  But a crucial reason for migrating to the new site is that it will allow the different areas and groups in our community to edit and take responsibility for one or more pages — to be visible and say their piece.  We’re working toward a more distributed model of community and this is one aspect of that evolution.

We need to complete the migration by Labor Day, September 2, 2013.  Of course the site will be evolving after that date, reflecting our community’s growth.  But we are taking up a slot in the “migration queue” and we need to make the migration as orderly and focused as possible.  So getting it done like one of the barn-raising efforts of the past makes a lot of sense.

Here are some of the skills that are going to be needed for this project:

  • Knowledge of the Shambhala community, our activities and programs

  • Writing and editing skills

  • Cut, paste, and simple formatting in a text editor

  • Group coordination and scheduling

Do you have some of these skills and some time to contribute?  Drop me a line at john (dot) smith (at) Portland (dot) Shambhala (dot) org!

I imagine that barn raising in Oregon’s rural past involved pot luck suppers and dances, but that part hasn’t been planned out for our electronic barn-raising yet.  Got ideas?

Sometimes impermanence takes effort

July 1st, 2013 by John David Smith

In some cases impermanence takes care of itself but often we have to make a lot of effort to change things.  When Portland got its new website several years ago it took a lot of effort to plan, develop and implement.  Over time, however, our website has gradually gotten to look more old-fashioned with no effort on our part as neighboring Shambhala centers in San FranciscoSeattleBellingham and Victoria, BC have migrated to a new web template that runs on WordPress.

Our current website was created a few years ago by Lisa Ricci, Davee Evans and others. It gathers all kinds of information about our community and its activities into one place.  We register for programs, find out how things work, and contact each other through the website.
But Lesa Ricci has temporarily moved to Toledo, Ohio (we expect a report soon); Davee Evans has moved to San Francisco, where he has been designing controls and user interfaces for refrigerator-sized gene-sequencing machines, teaching at the Shambhala Center, marrying Kate Merrill and having a baby:
Oona Josephine Merrill Evans!

Oona Josephine Merrill Evans!

Apart from the rather antique appearance of our current website, the fact that only one or two people can update any page on the website becomes a problem; it’s difficult to update.  In June, the Portland Shambhala Center Council decided that we should get in the queue for the new website template.  So it’s only a matter of time (and a lot of effort, including some fund-raising) till we switch to a design that looks like our neighbors up and down the West Coast.  Have a look at some of the features and at a map of the journey for moving on.
If you would like to participate in the move – along with others who have been helping to prepare for the move – drop me a line at John (dot) Smith (at) Portland (dot) Shambhala (dot) org.